The New York Times has a story on the "Genographic Project," a multi-million dollar project of the National Geographic Society to collect and study the DNA of global indigenous populations. While the story discusses the apprehension of many indigenous peoples to hand over their DNA for research due to beliefs about geographic origins and land rights, it completely overlooks the documented cases of such research becoming a means of property acquisition for pharmaceutical companies.
Well known cases include the DNA of a Hagahai man from remote Papua New Guinea, patented by the US NIH in 1995 and Guayami woman. Even those in the "first world" aren't protected from biopiracy, as John Moore's case against UCLA testifies.
Apparently, there is a push in the US Congress to test the use of mycoherbicides as part of a drug crop eradication program. Mycoherbicides are specially engineered or selected fungi that release toxins killing plant life. For more info on mycotoxins and their use in weaponized form.
Since the very beginning, regulation of transgenic technologies and techniques has been contentious (for a great history of this check out Sheldon Krimsky's Genetic Alchemy). While there are still debates between scientists, corporations and concerned citizens about who should have domain over such regulation, the likelihood that the current paradigm will change, despite the fear mongering related to bioterrorism and synthetic genomics. A new report led by the J. Craig Venter Institute (yes, the same Venter of Synthetic Genomics posted about here before) upholds the basic tenets of self-regulation that have been operational for years. We should fear the unlikely scenario of bioterrorism, but not, apparently, the much more likely corporate mishandling, accidents and outright negligence.
June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007